'Preaching Disaffection' in the Presbyterian Atlantic: Jotham Blanchard and the Reform Crisis in Scotland and Nova Scotia, c. 1827-37

Valerie Wallace*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In the 1820s and '30s Jotham Blanchard (1800-38), assemblyman for Pictou, Nova Scotia, launched a reform campaign against the Nova Scotian government. With the help of his mentor, the Rev. Thomas McCulloch, a Presbyterian missionary from Scotland, Blanchard attacked the colonial establishment for its failure to support the Pictou Academy, a college of higher learning for religious dissenters. Connected to a transatlantic denominational information web, Blanchard and McCulloch were inspired by the radical ecclesiology of the Scottish United Secession Church, with which McCulloch was affiliated. In 1831 Blanchard travelled to Britain to lobby the Colonial Office. There he was aided by the ministers of the United Secession, currently embroiled in their own local campaign in support of the Reform Bill. Blanchard's visit impacted on the domestic scene and the two campaigns became closely interwoven. Unfortunately for Blanchard his mission failed and he was written out of Nova Scotian history. Colonial historiography, concerned with celebrating the role of local heroes in the struggle for national self-determination, has focused overwhelmingly on the legacy of Joseph Howe, the triumphant champion of responsible government. Situating the Nova Scotian campaign within a transatlantic context, this article resurrects Blanchard's career and underlines its importance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-399
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Imperial and Commonwealth History
Volume42
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2014

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